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    Food Stamps Program Gets New Name

    According to the USDA, the new moniker, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more accurately reflects its goal of helping participants transition to a healthier way of life.

    Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said yesterday that the name of The Food Stamp Program has been changed to The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as a result of the recently enacted Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, better known as the Farm Bill.

    The new name more accurately represents the program's core mission to offer food assistance and nutrition education to participants as they transition to a healthier lifestyle and self-sufficiency, said the agency head.

    "The national name change and implementation of the Farm Bill provisions strengthens the program's ability to more effectively put healthy food within reach by increasing access to all who are eligible," said Schafer. "As we continue to modernize the program, it is time to refocus our efforts on reducing barriers to essential nutrition assistance benefits for those most in need."

    SNAP is the largest domestic nutrition assistance program, assisting over 28 million low-income individuals monthly. Participants currently access benefits with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that are similar to debit cards, instead of stamps or coupons. Procedures and application requirements for the benefits will remain the same, and states aren't required to change their program names to SNAP.

    "During this transition, USDA is working closely with state agencies, retailers, community and faith-based organizations, and other partners to ensure successful and seamless implementation of the national name change and other components of the Farm Bill," said USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner.

    Among the other provisions of the Farm Bill are the exclusion of retirement and education savings accounts and combat pay when determining eligibility for SNAP. The minimum benefit is indexed to inflation and will increase from $10 to $14.

    USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs serve one in five Americans annually and are designed to work together to form a national safety net against hunger.

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